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Impact of Climate Change on Willets Point NY.

February 19, 2009

Impact of Climate Change on Willets Point, New York

A bicyclist rides through a pool of water in neglected Willets Point, back in May 2008

A bicyclist rides through a pool of water in neglected Willets Point, back in May 2008

It is an undeniable fact that our climate is continuously changing. Dr. Linda Sohl, from  Columbia University disclosed in a public statement the anticipated effects of climate change  on Willets Point.

In light of the ever changing climate, Linda Sohl begins by establishing the history behind Willets Point in regards to the anticipated Sea Level Rise.

Back in 1983, New York City EDC proposed to address this issue by raising the local elevation of the proposed district to 14 feet above the current mean sea level.

However they did not take into consideration the dramatic change in climate in more recent years. Now we know it will be an issue, and we need to take the necessary precautions in regards to this.

Ms Sohl continues by addressing that although the increase in sea level rise is uncertain, “a reasonable estimate of the total possible contribution due to ice melting over the next few decades gives an overall increase in sea level by the year 2050 of nearly six feet.”

“All in all, we estimate that the new 100-year flood level for 2050 would reach over 17 feet in elevation” she said.

A redevelopment scheme at Willets point is currently underway.

This will include:


  • Thousands of housing units serving a mix of incomes and demographics
  • Exciting new retail and entertainment amenities
  • A new, high-quality hotel
  • New York City’s first non-Manhattan convention center
  • Office space
  • Open space, parks, and playgrounds
  • A new public school to meet the needs of the growing community
  • LEED-certified green buildings and infrastructure

This collaborative planning process established goals and guidelines to create a vibrant, mixed-use community at Willets Point.

In Dr Linda Sohls public statement she finanalizes on one key point,many other areas in New York City that are also at low elevations”.

“If the City is going to adopt a policy of tearing down communities to build them up above the floodplain, that is going to be a very long list and quite an enormous undertaking, and much more so if climate change is considered, as it should be if avoiding flooding is genuinely the objective”.

Hopefully, the development of Willets Point will be used as an example for other areas subject to flooding.

The following is a documentary on the redvelopment of Willets Point:


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